July Photo of the Month

Bob Blanco, southern regional director for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and USA member, caught this 25-pound dolphin 40 miles east of Miami, Fla. Send photos of your outdoor adventures with a detailed caption to brianm@trcp.org. Whoever submits the winning picture will receive a navy blue T.R. Sesquicentennial Hat.

Roosevelt’s Other Famous Hill

Theodore Roosevelt hiking with his family at Sagamore Hill. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service.

Hermann Hagedorn (1882-1964) was one of the most prolific biographers of Theodore Roosevelt. A friend of T.R., Hagedorn served as the first director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Among his books about the 26th president was The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill, first published in 1954.

I first was given a copy of Hagedorn’s book by a TRCP supporter. It includes a quote that I’d read a number of times before, but never tire of. Roosevelt, excusing himself from a meeting with a visiting dignitary said, “I must ask you to excuse me. We’ll finish this talk some other time. I promised the boys I’d go shooting with them at four o’clock, and I never keep boys waiting. It’s a hard trial for a boy to wait.”

With a smile on my face, I reflected for a moment about myself as a boy and all the boys I’ve known, many now with gray hair, who still can’t be left waiting. While so many works about Roosevelt detail his early life or his political life, Hagedorn’s was the first I’d read that focused on his home life, his daily interactions with his wife and children and the extended Roosevelt clan, many of whom had homes on New York’s Long Island, near Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill.

Hagedorn brings to life the president’s wild races through the woods and mad dashes down steep embankments, with his children and their cousins in tow. He writes of T.R.’s long cross-country rides on horseback and of rowing boats for hours on Long Island Sound to secluded camping spots, where the president and the children would dig clams and he’d tell stories of big game hunting and Cuba around a campfire.

Reading the book you get a sense of the rhythm of a house overflowing with visitors accompanied by an endless series of activities: children putting on plays, shooting contests, afternoon hikes and more. I especially liked learning that T.R., always ready to play, often ignoring the rules of a game (tennis for instance) in order to make it more fun or available to everybody. When I finished the book, I liked Theodore and his wife Edith a great deal more. They seemed more human and easier to relate to than they’d been previously.

Used copies of Hagedorn’s book are available through Amazon and a number of other booksellers for as little as $3, although a collectible copy in perfect condition can cost $100 or more. Either option is worth the read.

July TRivia

What was the make and gauge of the shotgun that T.R. took on his year-long African Safari?

Congratulations to Cecil Houser who was the first to correctly answer that Roosevelt traveled to the Nile River as a teenager.

Send your answer to this month’s question to brianm@trcp.orgfor your chance to win a navy blue T.R. Sesquicentennial Hat.

Mike “Animal” Bailey

Mike Bailey (left) holding a Fletcher's Cove striper with the late Jim Range, co-founder and former board chairman of the TRCP.

Mike Bailey started fishing in the late 1960s in farm ponds and swamps in southeast Georgia. “As I aged (mature doesn’t seem like the right word for me) my passion for fishing grew with my ability to pursue larger quarry,” says Bailey.

Settling in the Washington, D.C., area, Bailey began fishing the Potomac River for smallmouth until discovering what he calls “the best-kept secret in Washington, D.C.,” Fletcher’s Cove, a small boat launch on the Potomac River. At Fletcher’s, Bailey was introduced to the shad and striped bass that run up the river.

In the 1980s, Bailey met Jim Range, a fellow member of the unofficial anglers’ club at Fletchers, who helped him define and understand the importance of conservation. “Through his work and as one of his many fishing buddies, Jim shared his thoughts on the importance of preserving the outdoor resources we enjoyed together,” says Bailey.

Bailey continues to support D.C.-area conservation efforts, helping form the Congressional Casting Call with Range to expose law makers to natural resources available in their own backyard.

“Having spent many hours with Jim in the confines of a rowboat, car, greenhouse and kitchen, I was exposed to many of his thoughts, ideas and dreams,” says Bailey. “One of them was the formation of the TRCP.” As a small business owner, Bailey helped Jim explore operational infrastructures for small groups, which would help lead to the formation of the TRCP.

“Jim has goals that I’m hopeful the TRCP will be able to achieve on his behalf,” says Bailey. “As the organization realigns itself, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to participate in helping the TRCP make all of Ranger’s dreams come true.”

Click here to contribute to the Jim Range Conservation Fund